SALT LAKE CITY-After some very quick lease negotiations Sun Product Corp. last month moved into 409,374 square feet of speculatively built distribution space at Westport Distribution Center, an eventual 1.5-million-square-foot development here by Buzz Oates Group of Cos., a Sacramento-based firm with a 20 million square-foot management portfolio in California, Utah and Texas. Sun Product Corp. is result of last year’s a merger of locally based Huish Detergents and the North America laundry business of Unilever. Buzz Oates’ Chief Investment Officer Kevin Ramos tells GlobeSt.com that is broke ground for the building last summer and completed it in March. Buzz Oates and Sun agreed to a deal in principal in late February and finalized the 10-year commitment concurrent with $2.50 per square-foot of tenant improvement work.
“It’s an overall expansion of their presence in the market,” Ramos says. “They were in three or four different warehouses in the area.”
Ramos declined to discuss the negotiated lease rate and the tenant’s broker, Michael Falk of NAI Utah, was not immediately available Monday afternoon for comment. Other local brokers tell GlobeSt.com that market lease rates for larger, longer-term distribution deals in new buildings in Salt Lake are typically $0.33- to $0.35 per square foot per year, NNN.
Sun Products Corp., which is controlled by the private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners, began consolidating its regional operations in the space a few weeks ago. Its laundry business includes the All, Wisk, Sunlight, Surf, and Snuggle brands of Unilever with Huish’s Sun and White Rain brands as well as its private label business with the likes of Costco and Walmart.
With annual sales in excess of $2 billion Sun Products Corp. is considered the No. 2 fabric-care company behind Procter & Gamble. The headquarters of the merged company will be in Fairfield County, CT. Huish also has plants in Tennessee, Texas and Kentucky. Unilever has a plant in Baltimore.
The building it occupied represents the second phase of the 85-acre Westport Distribution Center, which is planned as a four-phase development. Sephora, a beauty supply company, leased 311,000 square feet of the 350,000-square-foot first phase in 2008, Ramos says. The third phase is tentatively slated to get underway this summer for delivery next summer.
“It’s just a matter of getting the [building permits],” Ramos says. “We have the capital.”